The crucial ingredient to meeting new social housing regulation

Location is the key to satisfied tenants, cost-effective maintenance and reduced emissions, says Nathan Ward, Channel Sales Development Manager, Ordnance Survey

4 minute read
As of April, social landlords now have the responsibility to meet new regulation, know the condition of every home, ensure tenants are safe, and respond to queries promptly. This adds a layer of complexity for housing associations which will be best navigated with the help of location data.
Aerial drone view of the Saint Nicholas Church in 2023

Tragedies in the housing sector brought to light the need for legislation to ensure that social housing is fit for purpose and tenant’s voices are heard. The introduction of the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, which came into force in April this year, highlighted the importance of action in the sector.

The Act works to hold poor performing landlords accountable, putting more responsibility on them to ensure the safety of tenants living in social housing across the UK. The Regulator of Social Housing has also now increased powers to undertake regular inspections of the largest social housing providers, make emergency repairs where there is a serious health risk to tenants, and issue unlimited fines to social landlords who are not acting appropriately.

The raft of new responsibilities landlords have has meant a whole picture perspective is necessary to ensure that any approach adheres to new regulation, meets the expectations of tenants and paves the way for cost effective maintenance and upgrades. It also comes at a time when Housing Ombudsman complaints are rising, tenants face strains with the cost of living and housing associations are being urged to reduce emissions. The scale of housing that needs to be maintained and adapted to meet this array of objectives means that social landlords have no choice but to rely on data to develop efficient and cost-effective strategies.

Addressing is a key tool for housing associations to identify where properties and tenants are, as well as understand their environment. Knowing where a property is supports any planning process or decision-making, whether for large-scale retrofitting, or responding to a concerned tenant. OS addressing data can be the aid that housing associations and landlords need to ensure adherence to government regulations. It can act as an authoritative dataset, meaning that housing associations can easily incorporate detail about the surrounding areas in which their properties are located.

OS address data contains over 33 million addresses throughout Great Britain & Northern Ireland and is available through the OS National Geographic Database (OS NGD). This complete dataset includes addresses from the Royal Mail PAF (Postcode Address File) converted into geographical coordinates, plus additional metadata such as property type and description, meaning that housing stock can be easily validated.

Contained within OS data is also the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). This allows accurate identification and validation for every property irrespective of the postal address or postcode. It also allows other data sets to be integrated and used for analysis, such as EPC ratings and title ownership information.

Moreover, detail around real world objects and images can be layered on top to create even greater context. By using additional metadata such as buildings, transport (such as roads), structures and land use, as well as aerial imagery, landlords and social housing providers can access a plethora of accurate information on the homes they manage and the surrounding area, enabling easier management, increased analysis and a better understanding of issues that arise. The insights gained from this authoritative data can help to ensure better planning, operational cost savings, and improved customer service.

Relying on an authoritative dataset provides housing associations with the tools they need to effectively juggle competing demands and ensure regulatory compliance. Location data provides a full sight view which helps housing associations to reduce risk and environmental impacts and keep tenants safe.

If you want to find out how location data can best meet your needs, speak to OS today for a free consultation. With a number of housing-focused licensed data Partners, we can help you to find the right one to support you.

Speak to OS today for a free consultation

Headshot of Nathan Ward
By Nathan Ward

Channel Sales Development Manager